In $13,000 Exit Lecture, Arts Council England Chair Demands More Investment in Culture

Last night Dame Liz Forgan, the outgoing chair of Arts Council England (ACE), called for an end to budget cuts for culture in the U.K., in spite of her departure lecture’s four-digit price tag, as this un-bylined Telegraph news item goes to great pains to emphasize repeatedly. The event, which was held in the British Museum‘s Egyptian Sculpture Gallery, cost British taxpayers £8,130 ($13,000), although ACE originally requested £12,500 ($20,000) for the evening.

After the Department for Culture, Media and Sport denied the initial reception funding request, the event was changed to a lecture to help reduce costs. Forgan, who was asked to step down by former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, took to the opportunity to criticize education secretary Michael Gove for excluding arts from his new baccalaureate program, saying that a speech in which he “officially [set] out his belief in the importance of cultural education would be a start.”

Forgan also said that increased, rather than reduced, public investment in the arts is essential to maintaining the U.K.’s “global reputation for excellent and places that are attractive to people to live, work and invest in,” the Telegraph reports.

As a parting gift Forgan received a work by the artist Bob and Roberta Smith (pictured) that reads “I believe in Liz Forgan” and was valued at roughly £200 ($320).

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image: Artwork by Bob & Roberta Smith, via Arts Council England/Facebook.)